Fan mocks MTG’s AI art advert with better, human-drawn version

"I can bring something to the table that can't be automated," says the digital artist who poked fun at Magic: The Gathering's AI art advert.

A Human version of Magic: The Gathering's AI advert

A Magic: The Gathering player has taken the AI art advert that caused outrage among fans last week, and made their own, human version on Blender. Their aim was to poke fun at the situation and demonstrate that man-made art is still better than AI.

The advert for recent MTG set Ravnica Remastered caused consternation, as it came out not long after Wizards of the Coast had pledged not to use AI art. At first, the Magic: The Gathering Twitter account insisted the picture, which had strange artifacting on its dials, light filaments, and reflections – not to mention nonsensical pipes and wires – was human drawn, but after a couple of days admitted it had been mistaken.

Now, Reddit user CrunchSand has created their own version of the image using computer graphics software, trying to get as close as possible to the original, while “sorting out a lot of the weird nonsense the generated art created”. They say it required taking a lot of liberties to make sense of things, but the new picture sorts out the uncanny valley effect that tipped fans off to the original’s AI origins. You can see the difference yourself in the before and after picture below:

“I mainly did it for humor,” the artist says. “That picture (and AI art in general) became known for skimping on effort, so I thought it’d be funny if someone recreated it with the actual human effort one would expect of it. It’s something I had thought of before, but that ad’s controversy was the perfect opportunity for it.”

CrunchSand’s image changes the cards on display too. Instead of the MTG lands you can find in Ravnica Remastered, they’ve swapped in some AI-themed cards, most of them featuring Magic’s robotic villains, the Phyrexians.

“I also did it out of a sense of needing to demonstrate that I’m better than an AI, that at least for the time being I can bring to the table something that can not be automated,” says CrunchSand. “Also, let’s face it: it’s fun to try to make sense of the garbled nonsense AI often comes up with.”

Many fans were understandably angry at Wizards of the Coast for their mistake, and the RPG community (including other creators) are strongly against the use of AI. But we worry that as AI art drives its roots deeper into art tools like Photoshop, getting mad at the MTG and DnD publisher isn’t going to be enough.